'Sesame Street' is Suing the Dirty Puppet Movie 'The Happytime Murders'

May 27, 2018, 01:59

Sesame Workshop is suing STX Productions - the company behind Melissa McCarthy's new movie - claiming its marketing strategy confuses fans into mistakenly believing Sesame is in cahoots with the movie while ruining its wholesome image.

'Defendants do not own, control or have any right to use the SESAME STREET mark.

Sesame Workshop alleges in the lawsuit, filed on Thursday in NY state court, that STX Productions has created confusion among the public into believing the film is connected to the show and infringed on the "Sesame Street" trademark.

In her reply, Lisa Henson apologized but said she and her brother were powerless to stop STX from marketing the film as it wished.

"No Sesame. All Street", is the movie's tagline on promotional material.

Promotion for a new raunchy puppet crime comedy has the group behind the beloved children's TV series "Sesame Street" in Oscar-the-Grouch mode - and they're suing on claims the film "tarnishes" the educational show's brand.

In the first trailer for the film, McCarthy - who plays a police detective - can be seen exchanging dialogue with a puppet who uses vulgar language and makes sexual references to her, which the 47-year-old actress responds to by punching him.

Set for release in August, The Happytime Murders does not actually feature Big Bird, the Cookie Monster or any other resident of 123 Sesame Street, where puppets have been teaching children basic math and decency since 1969.

According to the lawsuit, Sesame Street Workshop believes the trailer brings damage to the Sesame Street brand and trademark by displaying "explicit, profane, drug-using, misogynistic, violent, copulating, and even ejaculating puppets". A brand "Sesame has worked for almost 50 years to build, cultivate and maintain trust with its audience of parents and young children built on its reputation for wholesome educational programming".

The suit also says that the "threat of irreparable injury posed to Sesame's mark and brand can not be overstated".

It opens in the USA on August 17.

Along with Melissa McCarthy, The Happytime Murders' cast includes Elizabeth Banks, Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, Jimmy O. Yang, and Leslie David Baker. "While we're disappointed that Sesame Street does not share in the fun, we are confident in our legal position", the statement reads, adding that the STX "loved the idea" of joining forces with Brian Henson and the Jim Henson Company "to tell the untold story of the active lives of Henson puppets" away from children's eyes.